10 Daily Habits of Top Students in Their Field
As top students move further into their educational careers, they begin to distinguish themselves from their peers in interesting ways.
Rather than sleeping in all the time, taking it easy, or just trusting in the false sense of security that comes from not being allowed to fail by a broken public education system, they take personal responsibility and hold themselves to incredibly high standards.
What’s more, they do it one day at a time by forming habits that keep them on the proper course. If you want to join top students in your field, then you will employ most, and hopefully all, of these 10 daily habits. Let’s begin.
1. They schedule study time.
Top students are fully aware of the finite amount of time that they have to prepare — not just in their day but in their week and the weeks leading up to key assessments.
These individuals will look ahead at due dates on major projects, tests, and assignments. They will calculate the amount of time they have between the present and the future point, and they will carve out time each day to cover the information and training they need to cover to be prepared when the time comes.
2. They know when to step away.
Top students understand that there is more to studying than simply logging hours. They don’t sit in front of a computer or textbook for three hours thinking about something else for two of those hours and say that they just studied for three hours.
No, they instead try to maximize the time they are “in the chair,” and if it starts to come slowly, they know when to step away and engage in activities or exercise to rejuvenate the mind and prepare it for another block of study time.
Essentially, they are good at “listening” to their bodies and minds and responding accordingly.
3. They stay away from heavy meals.
Heavy meals when trying to get work done is a bad idea. When the body takes in high-calorie meals or foods that are heavy in carbohydrates, it tends to make one crash at a certain point and become listless.
Top students know that diet affects mental preparedness, so when taking in meals, they try to plan it with the responsibilities and challenges to come and keep a sharp mindset.
4. They find time for exercise.
Just like diet can affect mental ability, so can exercise. If you feel like you’re starting to fade, getting out of the chair and engaging in a stretch and a brisk walk for 10 to 15 minutes can put you back on course.
It’s also important to elevate your heart rate, whether it be through weightlifting, jogging, jump-roping, or swimming.
5. They actually do assigned reading.
When top students make it to college, they start to take classes that are more and more rigorous. It’s truly insane the volume of reading that you will have to do as you move up the educational ladder. While reading the back of the book or the Cliffs Notes version may have been enough to get you through a quiz in high school, the demands required of you in college requires an all-in approach.
One trick that top students may employ when it comes to handling assigned reading is to grab hold of an audio book version of whatever it is on their slate and listen to it at a 1.5 speed. If the material is available, this is a great way to take it in more quickly than one would reading it themselves, and no information is lost in the process.
6. They care more about understanding concepts than turning in correct answers.
In high school and early college, some students have a tendency to push for perfect homework scores in the event that their test performances aren’t that hot. The problem with this: if you’re truly learning the material enough to get a 100% on your homework, then you should certainly be scoring well enough on exams to keep your grade high above average.
If you’re not, then you fail to get any value from the homework itself.
Top students understand that. That’s why they have no problem challenging themselves and scoring a few 4/10s on homework assignments if it brings them closer to understanding how stuff works in time for the exam.
7. They know how to manage people.
As one’s social life picks up in high school and college, it becomes easy to give into peer pressure and go have fun instead of meeting the obligations of school. Everyone is tempted by this, even the top students.
However, they, unlike some of their lesser performing friends, know where to draw the line, and they know how to clearly and authoritatively explain to their pals that they have other obligations.
They are confident enough to say “no,” in other words, and that is a strong people management skill that will not only serve them well in the present, but the future, too. The thing about this is, you only have to be authoritative a time or two before your friends and acquaintances come to expect it of you and stop pressuring you to step away from the books for a night on the town. They will probably even respect you more as a person if you’re that type of student. And if not, they’re not good people to be around anyway.
8. They seek help.
Top students admit they don’t have all the answers, and when they come to a perplexing moment, they seek help for it. You will never catch one of these individuals talking themselves out of paying a professor a visit during office hours. They’re not shy about it because they realize the objective is more about achieving close to mastery than it is feeling awkward, out of place, or overwhelmed.
9. They tackle something that challenges them.
Top students get to where they are not because they always win, but because they put themselves in a position to lose every single day.
They realize that without risk, there are no rewards, and so they don’t shy away from taking on projects and responsibilities where they could potentially fail.
Sometimes they will; sometimes they will not. But they will always emerge as stronger students and people than they were before.
10. They look to the future.
Top students understand that high school and college don’t have to be the best years of their lives. They have vision and see a long-term plan for what they are doing, whether it’s in a subject area or in human relationships. They realize that there is no success if you simply stay where you are, because the rest of the world will pass you by.
Top students do not have life figured out, but they do realize that it takes work to get there, and they are eager to put in the appropriate time and effort to get there. Keep that in mind as you finish out this semester and move forward in your educational journey. Good luck!
[Image via UCI.edu]